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Author: Hannah Butterworth

What is SSIP?

Founded in 2009, Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP) is an umbrella organisation that facilitates mutual recognition between health & safety prequalification schemes.

But what does that mean?

What it means is that all members of SSIP recognise each other’s health & safety assessments, so you should only ever have to be passed by one SSIP member for basic health & safety compliance, to be accepted by them all. SSIP is a governing body created to reduce health and safety assessment costs in the supply chain. 

Supported by the HSE, SSIP aims to streamline prequalification and encourage straightforward mutual recognition between its Member Schemes and highlight the savings to buyers and suppliers.

In order to give you a better understanding of SSIP, and how it can benefit you, we’ve answered some of the questions we’re frequently asked by suppliers and clients…

How well known is SSIP amongst suppliers?

Currently in excess of 57,000 suppliers are registered with an SSIP Member Scheme. SSIP also has many registered members including Altius of course!

What does an ‘SSIP assessment’ cover?

The basis of SSIP mutual recognition is an assessment against the requirements of the SSIP’s ‘Core Criteria’, or the Health & Safety module of PAS91. Once you’ve successfully passed an assessment of your compliance with these regulations, you’ll be listed under one or more of the following categories, whichever apply to you: Contractor, Designer, Principal Contractor, Principal Designer.

How does mutual recognition work in practice?

How mutual recognition works does vary but, as an example, if you’ve passed your CDM assessment through Altius, CHAS will recognise this by offering their certification for a significantly reduced fee and with no requirement to undertake their assessment.

To find out more, check out the SSIP website. If you have been assessed by a member of SSIP in the last year, please call and let us know; you may eligible for a discount.

How can I use the SSIP arrangements to my benefit?

How you can use the SSIP arrangements to your benefit depends on your current situation, which schemes you need or want to be a member of, and a weighing up of the pros and cons of the different scenarios. For example, if you’ve passed your Altius CDM Award, you’ll appear on our SSIP list.

If you then need to join any of the other SSIP member schemes, you can use your Altius CDM status to do so. Just make them aware of your Altius status when you enquire about joining (or renewing) and they’ll let you know what you need to do.

Automatic entry on the SSIP ‘Portal’ with the Altius Network

If you have passed your Altius CDM Award, we will make sure you appear on the SSIP Portal, which is a web based tool used by a large (and growing) number of public and private sector clients to verify the pre-qualification status of contractors under CDM 2015 requirements.

Altius’ CDMComply assessment falls under the approved SSIP accreditation, so once a supplier has gained certification under this Altius assessment they will automatically be entered into the SSIP Portal database.

Altius also boasts the quickest turnaround and best overall value certificationto get onto the SSIP Portal with CDMComplyIn addition to this, Altius will also grant free CDMComply certification and SSIP Portal entry to any supplier who meets all the SSIP Core Criteria as part of any other Altius client-specific assessment process.

Want to learn more about the Altius Network?

Five steps to save money when managing suppliers

Efficiency, compliance and cost reduction are three of the top business priorities for anyone accountable for managing suppliers.

For any professional taking on the role of overseeing supply chains, managing suppliers and subcontractors is not easy. Sourcing, monitoring, and auditing suppliers can be costly, more so if it isn’t done correctly.

In order to help you reduce the time you spend, and save money managing suppliers, we’ve compiled five steps you can take to a more cost-efficient supplier management strategy.

1 – Cleanse your data

Incorrect supplier information, such as delivery address, account details or key contact details, can lead to unhappy clients and operation failures – these are all consequences of ill-managed data. Sound familiar?

Clean data is key to gaining an accurate 360 view of your suppliers and avoiding costly operational delays. Whether you’re using software or spreadsheets, take the time to ensure that you’re not housing data you don’t need, such as old or dated supplier information.


2 – Build trusting relationships

When it comes to reducing supplier costs, it’s common for managers to instantly focus on how their suppliers can reduce costs for them, instead of looking at how they can improve operations altogether.

A great supplier strategy works two ways. Creating a strong and trusting partnership between your business and your supplier will increase productivity, reduce risk and result in higher success rates for both you and your supplier.


3- Carry out regular and efficient audits

From risk profiling, to ensuring suppliers are qualified and compliant with regulations, carrying out supplier audits can seem like a burden for supply chain professionals. Often, these audits are an afterthought when a supplier is already causing issues, which is more than likely too late to avoid the risks that this can pose on your supply chain.

Audits do not have to be difficult. Take time out to implement a clear audit process that explains how often they need to happen (this could be every quarter, 6 months or annually), and the types of questions you’d need to ask.

Keeping on top of the compliance of your suppliers will ultimately eliminate financially damaging risks, and the time you’d have to spend on firefighting supplier issues as they arise.

4 – Utilise technology

The days of flipping between cluttered spreadsheet after spreadsheet should now be behind us, supplier managers should be making the most of the huge range of supply chain management technology readily available.

Making the investment into technology comes with many benefits, such as better control, transparency, visibility, and protection.

All of these benefits will result in managers having a clearer view of their supplier performance, saving time and reducing the chances compliance failures and nasty fines.

5 – Outsource

Outsourcing is often seen as a more expensive method of managing supply chain compliance, but this isn’t always the case.

Outsourcing aspects of supplier management, sourcing or performance monitoring will not only help free up extra time for supplier managers, but will also equip them with the knowledge and information they need to carry out their jobs efficiently and effectively.

Begin the journey to a more compliant and efficient supply chain

When it comes to eliminating unnecessary costs within your supply chain, mitigating risk and gaining an understanding of your compliance procedure are the first steps to take.

Our free Best Practice Guide can help you on your way to a more reliable and performance-driven supply chain. Download the guide today…

10 years of Altius: A look back on the success so far…

This year, Altius are celebrating 10 years in business. After a busy few months at Altius HQ, we wanted to take the time to reflect on the past decade of success.

Altius was incorporated back in 2007, and it didn’t take long for the business to take off as we landed our first major client, Bellrock, just one year later.

In the following years Altius won a number of consecutive industry awards and built working relationships with household names such as Boots, Marks & Spencer and Morrisons.

Ten years down the line, we have secured our biggest contract yet with the National Contract from Rail Safety and Standards Board for the whole of the UK rail industry.

To show our journey from the beginning right up until the present day, we have created a special anniversary infographic, which will showcase just some of the highlights from the past decade.



Born out of a desire to improve the challenges supply chains posed to businesses, Altius builds on its current directors’ wealth of experience within the industry to offer solutions to anyone working in, or managing supply chains.


Altius land their first major client – Bellrock

SGP Property & Facilities Management Ltd, now known as Bellrock, partnered to develop a robust supply chain compliance system, to remove the risk of lapses in compliance. Altius were initially introduced to Bellrock’s clients at the time including Pizza Hut, NCP and Punch Taverns. Altius continue to work with Bellrock today!

Altius secures a deal in the Middle East!

The Abu Dhabi Government chose Altius to provide supply chain management consultancy whilst looking to improve the service they received from their suppliers. Altius worked with key stakeholders to improve overall compliance, performance and service.


ISO 9001 Certification

Altius have always had a huge commitment to quality when it comes to delivering supply chain compliance, this was proven in 2009 with the ISO 9001 certification.


Appointed by Airbus UK to manage their contractors


Innovation Award from British Institute of Facilities Management

Altius, alongside major client Bellrock, were awarded the prestigious British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) award for showcasing outstanding initiatives and innovations within the facilities management industry.

Achieved accreditation to HSE backed SSIP

Altius are pleased to be registered members of Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP), the governing body created to reduce health and safety assessment costs in the supply chain.

Today, Altius boasts the quickest turnaround and best overall value certification to get onto the SSIP portal with CDMComply. Learn more about SSIP with Altius

Appointed by Morrisons to manage their contractors across the UK


First customer in USA!

Altius started to work with a leading advertising and marketing services agency network, based in Chigaco, with 96 offices in 84 countries.

At the time of contact Altius only offered an outsourced compliance management programme, but with the mix of extensive industry experience and technology expertise, Altius’ software platform was born to offer in-house compliance management.


Began working with Boots nationwide

Altius began managing contractors for high-street brand, Boots, across the UK.


Innovation Award from i-FM

Altius secured more recognition, this time alone, for innovation within the industry from i-FM. This award recognises companies that are utilising new technologies to achieve exemplary improvements in business processes and performance in the facilities sector.

New Altius HQ!

As the business grew, so too did the need for more office space, this move came in 2014 to the current location on Wyvern Industrial Estate in Derby.



First multilingual software deployment across 7 languages

Spanning 10 countries Altius’ software is now multilingual and covers the following languages: French, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch, Polish and Czech.


Appointed by Marks and Spencer

Another high-street giant chooses Altius to manage their contractors across the UK.


National Contract from Rail Safety and Standards Board for the UK rail industry

This year, Altius, in partnership with Capita, were selected to provide enhancements to RISQS, the UK railway’s supplier pre-qualification scheme. Managed by RSSB, the scheme is used by Network Rail, London Underground and 116 other buyers with 4,300 supplier members throughout the UK rail industry!

Over the past ten years, Altius has gone from strength to strength, building strong relationships with clients and suppliers alike, developing client centric solutions and, most of all, delivering an exceptional service resulting in improved supply chain compliance across any industry sector.

Press Release: Altius VA join forces with RSSB to deliver improved RISQS

Altius VA and Capita are excited to announce that they will be joining forces with RSSB to deliver an improved railway industry supplier qualification service (RISQS) through a phased integration period over the coming months.

RSSB provides the Railway Industry Supplier Qualification Scheme (‘RISQS’), the pre-qualification service which gives the industry’s 118 buyers – including Transport for London and Network Rail – the risk assurance that enables them to do business in confidence with 4,300 suppliers. RISQS is governed by an industry board which is ultimately responsible for overseeing and appointing the service providers for the scheme.

The evolution of the RISQS scheme from its current status as a concession to a contract, managed by RSSB on behalf of the industry, will deliver enhanced benefits to all members of the scheme. Working with RSSB, Altius VA and Capita will provide a new easy to use platform with more functionality and the capability to respond more quickly to changes in industry requirements, and deliver better integration with buyer and supplier systems

Cutting edge IT and compliance service provider Altius VA was founded in 2007 by its current directors to provide significant benefits to clients with, or working in, supply chains.  With their extensive experience within the rail industry and a proven track record of using modern information technology to deliver valuable benefits to both buyers and suppliers, Altius VA are a great partner to business process management specialist Capita.

With the support of key players Network Rail and Transport for London, Altius VA Ltd will be the front end of the RISQS service with their IT platform and verification services, whilst Capita will take on audit responsibilities to provide a continued and seamless integration from the current service to support buyers and suppliers moving forward.

Welcome to the improved RISQS Supplier Qualification Service, the only recognised scheme owned and working for the rail industry.

Fortune 150 company praises Altius’ supplier compliance software

Altius have continued to help business globally with their supplier compliance, following the work the Altius team have been doing alongside a Fortune 150 consumer packaged goods company, based in the USA.

The company were looking for a systematic solution to replace existing manual processes for managing service supplier compliance. They were looking for a solution that was flexible enough to be tailored to meet their needs, while avoiding the pitfalls of a custom solution.

The problem

On completion of an extensive assessment into their existing supplier compliance process, it became increasingly clear that the use of spreadsheets, emails and paper notes were effective but inefficient. It was also becoming impractical and too dependent on individual diligence to do a thorough job.

The solution

To streamline their internal processes, Altius offered a demonstration of the supplier compliance software, Exigo. Exigo was designed by the Altius team to aide clients as they manage compliance across their supply chain, while providing a real-time and collaborative solution that will scale with their business.

After reviewing other available systems, the US-based company chose Altius’ system due to the benefits to their internal supplier managers and its efficient triggered system, which once set-up, requires minimal manual input, unlike other systems.

The Exigo system was also praised for its ability to:

The roll-out

The initial pilot system was launched in early 2013 for data testing, with the roll-out being supported by small groups of classroom training sessions. Over the past four years, the system has expanded to now include over 50 key service suppliers and worked through three major system upgrades as the platform has evolved to meet new industry standards. This has been supported by continuous ad-hoc training as new suppliers are ‘on-boarded’.

The results

This has been a hugely successful implementation for both Altius and the client. The company’s Supplier Manager said on Exigo and the support from Altius, “With this system we have, for the first time ever, a real-time holistic view of the compliance status of our service supplier base.”

“In addition, it clearly communicates to both our suppliers and ourselves, exactly what the compliance requirements are, when they are required to be completed and the status (complete/incomplete) of each individual requirement.”

“This has also been a tremendous efficiency improvement and has allowed us to reallocate our time and resources to more strategic work.”

About Exigo

Exigo, Altius’ supplier compliance software aims to give clients total supply chain compliance management. Exigo includes a host of features and tools to help you manage areas such as supplier on-boarding, risk profiling, pre-qualification, contractual compliance, audit management and performance monitoring. Exigo also features:

Automated Processes and Workflows

All processes and workflows are fully automated with email and actions alerting users to what needs to be done, and when.

Real-Time Status Tracking and Reporting

Exigo provides a current view of your suppliers’ status so that you can see at a glance where your issues and risks lie.

Ready Made Templates

An extensive library of templates provides a solid starting point to get you up and running quickly and easily.

To see why a Fortune 150 company has had success with Altius Exigo, and to see if you can benefit from the supplier compliance software too, request your free demo with the Altius team today.

Request an Exigo software demo

How do you evaluate a new supplier?

Identifying new suppliers to work with is always a hard decision to make. Even the combination of a recommendation from an industry colleague, and the supplier’s ability to showcase their capability, isn’t enough to make you sure that the new partnership will be successful.

While many companies take a calculated risk by appointing a new supplier, unsure whether problems will occur further down the line; there is a three-step framework that can help companies better appoint new suppliers – and ensure they are meeting standards long into the future.

The Altius supply chain performance framework is a great tool that pins new, and existing suppliers too, down to three key areas: capability, management and monitoring. Here we give a brief explanation of the framework and how it can help you.



Judging the capability of your suppliers gives your business a clear indication of their skills and experience. Failure to do this could result in you employing a company that cannot maintain the high quality of service you expect, putting your company and supply chain in danger of falling below standards.

To judge supplier capability effectively, you should:



The job of managing compliance extends well beyond the basics of information and evidence gathering for authorisation to work. Ongoing management of suppliers is required to ensure that contractual compliance is adhered to. For new and existing suppliers, you should be giving them the relevant policy, rules and specifications to help them stay compliant. Your job at this stage is to monitor that they are doing this correctly and on time.

To manage new suppliers effectively, you should:



To ensure that your supplier abides by your contractual agreements and meets their targets, you need to have a system in place so that you can monitor their progress continually. This can be in the form of an audit which will assist in identifying areas for improvement; it can also assess the performance of your suppliers, which is crucial to maintaining high standards.

To monitor and evaluate the performance of a new supplier, you should:


Best practice to manage new suppliers

Managing new and existing suppliers effectively is hard to balance, so here is a three-step framework to help you effectively evaluate new suppliers.

For more advice on managing new suppliers, take a look at our Introduction to Supply Chain Compliance Best Practice here.

Five questions you should ask yourself today on your modern slavery policy and process

The UK Government has set the turnover threshold at £36 million for companies that have to report on their supply chain modern slavery. Despite this threshold, the Government is still advising companies with smaller turnovers to analyse their supply chains to ensure they are ‘slavery free’.

Modern slavery is still a major concern in the industry, with only 30% of procurement and supply chain professionals believing their suppliers were compliant with the new legislation.

To assist you in the analysis of your current modern slavery policy and process, answer these five key questions on modern slavery:


1 – Do you ask what your supply chain are doing to combat modern slavery?

Requesting information on how your suppliers and contractors are dealing with modern slavery shouldn’t be limited to new suppliers on their PQQ (Pre-Qualification Questionnaire). You should also be asking your existing contractors and suppliers on an annual basis.

Surprisingly, 71% of supply chain and procurement professionals believe their biggest challenge with modern slavery is ensuring the compliance of existing suppliers, according to The Modern Day Slavery Survey 2017 Report.


2 – Do you monitor if they are doing what they say they are?

Desktop and on-site audits are tools that you should be using to ensure your supply chain is abiding by the claims they are making. These audits should look into claims around modern slavery and find evidence of procedures and policies being adhered to.

As Altius’ Managing Director Gary Plant describes, “Having a clear compliance process for your suppliers and contractors to abide by is essential to ensure compliance within your supply chain, ultimately to reduce your exposure and cut your costs.”

“Whether you’re still working from a spreadsheet to monitor supplier compliance, or you have an automated software system, regular communication with your suppliers can help achieve greater levels of compliance.”


3 – Can you prove due diligence and cover your business if the worst were to happen?

While the importance of supply chain audits has never been underestimated in the industry, supply chain and procurement teams are finding it difficult to find time to conduct them and identify potential supply chain risks – two findings that were highlighted in The Modern Day Slavery Survey 2017 Report.

This time constraint means that some supply chain teams are missing out on issues and not completing auditing documentation on an annual basis as they should. Without the activity and paper trail that clears suppliers and contractors to work with you for another year, you and your company are at serious risk.


4 – Could you save money outsourcing this process?

Of course, auditing your suppliers and contractors on an annual basis is a massive undertaking of time and resource. However, to ensure you negate risk, this is a requirement – especially with the severity you and your company face if you fall foul of the new modern slavery legislation.

To ensure your supply chain is compliant to The Modern Slavery Act and amongst other legislations and certifications, outsourcing your compliance process may be an option. This outsourcing could also save your team valuable time and money that could be better spent elsewhere. See how Altius can help with your supplier and contractor assessments.


5 – Are you able to show transparency to your customers on your processes?

If your target client database is businesses over £36 million, the need to comply and create additional assets to show Modern Slavery Act compliance, is almost a compulsory measure. Businesses will want to see thorough processes and clear documentation that every one of your contractors and suppliers adheres to.

This transparency is not always easy to show when companies still rely on traditional database techniques such as logging contractor information on a spreadsheet. For ultimate clarity in order to pitch and win work from businesses over £36 million turnover, it is certainly worth investing in an online system that logs contractor data easily.


Modern Slavery Report

Not sure how compliant you are to the Modern Slavery Act? See how the rest of the procurement and supply chain industry are dealing with the recent legislation and what their biggest challenges in 2017 will be, in The Modern Day Slavery Survey 2017 Report.

How we can help businesses really care about their corporate ethical footprint

In 2015, the UK Government introduced the Modern Slavery Act, which requires businesses with a turnover of £36 million or over, to release a statement outlining steps they are taking to comply with the new legislation. What many companies miss is that the statement should also reference efforts to check their supply chains too.

This is in response to a global stance to wipe out modern slavery after the International Labour Organization estimated that 30 million people are enslaved today, and the profit generated by this labour is $150 billion annually.


Naming and shaming brands

Speaking on the legislation, Prime Minister Theresa May, said: “By increasing supply chain accountability, more workers will be protected, and consumers will have greater confidence in the goods and services they will buy.”

With businesses being ‘named and shamed’ when preventative measures are not being taken, understandably modern slavery has become a hot topic in recent months, with big brands being checked to ensure they are following the legislation and safeguarding their reputation.

However, research compiled in The Modern Day Slavery Survey 2017 Report has found that 71% of procurement professionals felt they were ill-prepared for the new legislations and struggle to monitor their supply chain due to time pressures.


Improve your ethical footprint

Here at Altius, we can offer you a way to make sure you are not on that list, but, more importantly, with growing spotlight being pointed at all brands to show transparency in their supply chain, we can help you prove that you really care about your corporate ethical footprint, while saving time and money.

As the leading supply chain compliance provider, our award-winning team can help you:

For more information on how we can help you really care about your corporate ethical footprint, speak to our team today for a free supply chain health check, or complete your own health check below.

How to improve your retail supply chain compliance in one working week

The retail landscape has changed dramatically over the last decade with technology and software playing an even greater role in our industry.

Not only are consumers taking advantage of this development through online stores, in-store kiosks and transactional iPads, procurement and supply chain professionals are using technology to improve their internal processes too.

One part of the internal process that is getting more attention as a result is supply chain compliance. Despite some retail professionals still relying on spreadsheets to monitor supplier information, the majority have embraced new technology to take away the burden of compliance.

Improve compliance in one working week

Whether you’re operating off a spreadsheet or a new compliance software, procurement and supply chain professionals can always do more to ensure a more transparent, efficient and safer internal process. Using the points below, find out how you can improve your retail supply chain compliance in one working week.


Supply chain compliance framework

This supply chain compliance framework was created by Altius to give supply chain professionals the template required to align internal processes and ensure maximum supplier compliance.


Information – Authorisation – Verification

Judging the capability of your suppliers gives your business a clear indication of their skills and experience to proceed with their products or services. To alleviate red faces internally and potential problems with the work they’ve done, you should be assessing the capability of the supplier right from the very start.

This includes questioning them on their ability, their qualifications and also on the previous work they’ve done. This information gathering will help you verify their claims, making it easier for you to authorise them for use throughout your business. Are you currently doing this effectively?



Policies & Rules – Contracts & Specifications – Controls & Restraints

The job of managing compliance extends well beyond the basics of information and evidence gathering for authorisation to work. Ongoing management of suppliers is required to ensure that contractual compliance is adhered to.

For new and existing suppliers, you should be giving them the relevant policy, rules and specifications to help them adhere to the rules. Your job at this stage is to monitor that they are doing this correctly. Has every one in your supply chain signed and understood all of your documents?



KPIs – Behaviour – Audit

To ensure that your supplier abides by your contractual agreements and meet their targets, you need to have a system in place so that you can monitor their progress.

This can be in the form of an audit which will assist in identifying areas for improvement; it can also assess the performance of your suppliers, which is crucial to maintaining high standards. Have you set KPIs for your existing suppliers in the past and audited them against their results?


The importance of compliance

The importance of compliance, particularly in the consumer-facing retail industry, is paramount. By using these nine points above to question your internal process, you will effectively review and begin to improve your retail supply chain compliance as soon as possible.

Want to know more about how new retail trends will impact on you? Download our guide Retail 2020: A future insight of trends that will affect facility and property management and discover how retail trends will change the way you do supply chain compliance in three years’ time.

Triple transparency: Why a transparent supply chain in retail is paramount

‘Generous brands’ in the current retail climate have pioneered the information that consumers want to know about the businesses they’re buying from. Innocent Drinks, for example, have shown to be a ‘generous brand’ associated with good health, charitable causes, and tongue-in-cheek marketing campaigns that resonate with their consumers.

Christian Davies, Executive Creative Director at FITCH Design explains that it’s not just the ‘façade’ that consumers are interested in, but the actual supply chain decisions too.


Buying can be a force for good

“We believe shoppers will absolutely want to know what retailers care about. On a macro level, this trend will influence the products retail brands choose to provide. It will push us to continue to explore how the act of buying can be a force for good.”

The results for being transparent and open with consumers, will be staggering. To support this a survey by the Business Citizenship Report 2014 reported that:


Environmental factors

While savvy consumers will seek information to ensure their ‘generous brand’ is who they perceive them to be, consumers may still not be aware of the deeper procurement complexities. A lack of natural resources and high demand for raw materials in new markets, for example, will not be understood as such, but that will not stop them wanting sustainability at a fair price.


Not forgetting modern slavery

The International Labour Organization estimates that 30 million people are enslaved today, and the profit generated by this labour is $150 billion annually. For UK firms, modern slavery is now a legislative measure, and not just an ethical ‘nice-to-do’.

Our Modern Slavery Report showed a shocking 71% of procurement professionals felt they were ill-prepared for new legislations and struggle to monitor their supply chain. Growing pressures to prove ethical standards to customers means you need to be ahead of the game to offer transparency in your business.


Triple the transparency

Retailers need to be more transparent, not only to meet legislation and ensure their supply chain in retail is compliant, but also to appease the demands of consumers in 2020 and beyond. Ethical product purchases are at an all-time high, and it falls to retail facility managers and property managers to ensure their brands are ready for the change.

For more insights into the consumer trends that will affect the industry in 2020 and beyond, download our free report, Retail 2020 report today.

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